'Almost not like work'

Cary Ashby • Oct 23, 2017 at 9:00 AM

COLLINS — Many hands make light work, as the cliché goes.

And while the statement is overused, it’s true. If there are more people to help do something, more than likely it will take less time to do a certain project.

That is certainly the case with the Leimeister family.

Four generations of the Collins-area clan — more than 20 people — worked together recently to cut wood for Margaret “Peg” Leimeister, 87, of Collins. And the annual event only took about 4 1/2 hours to complete.

“She has lived at her house her entire life,” said her son, Fred Leimeister, who lives just down the road. “That was her parents’ house.”

Leimeister’s mother lives in a house that has a wood burner.

“That’s the only source of heat. They are keeping my mom warm for the winter,” he said.

For years, Leimeister’s father, the late Michael J. Leimeister, would cut enough wood for the winter. His son said Leimeister used to do all the cutting “all by himself.”

But as his health failed, Fred’s cousins, Danny and Chad, stepped up and said they would help him out. The elder Leimeister died Oct. 26, 2014 at age 88.

So was born the annual wood-chopping family “party.”

“This does not happen without Danny and Chad Leimeister,” Fred said.

Danny’s son, Brett, now owns Leimeister Crane and Tree Service in Berlin Heights. Chad runs Tree Experts, which is based near Berlin Heights in Huron.

“I’m lucky we have these wood experts in the family. They supply the wood and the equipment,” Fred Leimeister said. “This is probably the seventh year.”

His father had 17 brothers and sisters. 

“Nine of his siblings’ family were represented at the party. That was about four generations,” the son said. “I live at the farm. There are three houses on the farm.”

The wood-cutting “party” means Leimeister’s mother has enough wood for the entire winter. He said it’s all about the family uniting, working together — and having a good time in the process.

“My mom still makes a big meal,” added Leimeister, whose aunts contribute pies. “After we get done, we have a big meal as a family.”

Leimeister’s wife, Adrianne K. Leimeister, better known as “Kay,” is crucial to the process.

“She serves the meal. She gets all the pop and drinks,” her husband said. “She cleans up the mess. I wheel my mom out and she eats with us.

“We have a good time; it’s almost not like work,” Leimeister said.

The wood-cutting starts about 7 a.m.

“And by 11:30 or 12 we are eating lunch and having dinner,” Leimeister said. “Young people need to understand if you work together, your family will help you out.”

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